Practical advice for new parents

Colostrum

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During the latter half of pregnancy and the first few days after birth, a woman’s breasts produce an easily digestible milk called colostrum. Because colostrums is extremely high in nutrients and antibodies it is the ideal first food for a baby. Colostrum’s yellow, thick liquid also works as a laxative to help pass the first stools which helps prevent the onset of jaundice.

A particular antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) is found in large quantities in colostrum and is known to help protect a newborn from germs that could attack the intestines, lungs, and throat. Thus, many refer to colostrum as a baby's 'first vaccine'.

Most women will continue to produce colostrum for the first three to five days after birth before a more opaque, whiter milk begins to appear. Frequent breastfeeding, at least eight to twelve times per day, helps ensure that a baby receives all of the benefits of colostrum and this in turn aids in the development of a greater milk supply.

The production of colostrum will completely taper off by the second week of breastfeeding and concentrations of antibodies will decrease in the milk. At that point, milk production will greatly increase to meet the demands of your growing baby.

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